Coronavirus Live Updates: Apple and Google are Building a Tool to Track the Contagion


The Turkish government orders millions to stay home in sudden lockdown.

The Turkish authorities on Friday ordered a two-day lockdown on just hours notice for 31 provinces across the country, as Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed above 1,000.

Istanbul and Ankara, where international flights were halted and schools and bars were closed, were covered in the order.

“We urge all citizens who live in these 31 provinces to comply with this weekend’s lockdown without panicking,” Fahrettin Altun, the country’s communications director, said on Twitter.

Mr. Altun asked people to maintain their social distance in the short time before the lockdown went into effect. Soon after the news was announced, people began shopping for essentials in Istanbul, a city of 16 million people, the Reuters news agency reported.

Video posted to Twitter showed the chaos as scores of densely packed people, some without masks, jostled to enter a store.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that bakeries, pharmacies and health facilities would be allowed to operate during the lockdown. Other businesses exempt from the lockdown included certain energy companies, distribution firms and some gas stations.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 had increased by 4,747 and 98 people died in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 1,006, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Apple and Google team up to track the coronavirus.

In one of the most far-ranging attempts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Apple and Google said they were building software into smartphones that would tell people if they were recently in contact with someone who was infected with it.

The technology giants said they were teaming up to release the tool within several months, building it into the operating systems of the billions of iPhones and Android devices around the world. That would enable the smartphones to constantly log other devices they come near, enabling what is known as “contact tracing” of the disease. People would opt in to use the tool and voluntarily report if they became infected.

The unlikely partnership between Google and Apple, fierce rivals who rarely pass up an opportunity to criticize each other, underscores the seriousness of the health crisis and the power of the two companies whose software runs almost every smartphone in the world. Apple and Google said their joint effort came together in just the past two weeks.

Public-health authorities have said that improved tracking of infected people and their contacts could slow the pandemic. Such measures have been effective in places like South Korea that also conducted mass virus testing.

Yet two of the world’s largest tech companies harnessing virtually all of the smartphones on the planet to trace people’s connections raises questions about the reach these behemoths have into individuals’ lives and society.

“It could be a useful tool, but it raises privacy issues,” said Dr. Mike Reid, an assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, who is helping San Francisco officials with contact tracing. “It’s not going to be the sole solution, but as part of a robust sophisticated response, it has a role to play.”

Residents of Seine-Saint-Denis, France’s poorest department, did not have the luxury to relocate to the countryside when the French government announced strict confinement rules on March 16. Since then, families have been packed into apartments, forced to wait it out.

The combination of cramped quarters, acute economic stress and tough policing has made Paris’s poorer suburbs a center of tension during the pandemic. France reported over 13,000 deaths and over 100,000 test-confirmed cases on Friday.

Relations between residents and the police, with their undercurrent of racial discrimination, are often fraught even in the best of times. Residents have repeatedly compared the confinement rules to conditions in a prison, and they say that the police are taking advantage of their mandate to keep the streets clear by harassing and beating youths. Some are warning that the pressures are ripe to explode.

“We’ve got a lot of young people in big families, shut up in tiny apartments, and it’s difficult to close them up like that,” said Bilal Chikri, a filmmaker who lives in the neighborhood.

Outside the apartment blocks, small groups have begun to gather mostly at bus stops while wide streets are largely quiet.

Overall, people are respecting the confinement rules, said Hamza Esmili, a sociologist who has studied the Paris suburbs. “There isn’t a sort of collective indiscipline about it.”

But the illness has a potential to continue spreading, he said. The danger doesn’t come from people congregating outside, but from the cramped apartments where extended families are packed.

For many New Yorkers, living amid the coronavirus pandemic will be defined by two sounds: ambulances sirens and the nightly 7 o’clock cheer for front-line workers, grocery clerks and delivery riders.

The collective cheering ritual started in Wuhan, China in January and spread across the globe in the virus’s wake. In America’s largest city, the applause is sometimes accompanied by the song “New York, New York,” and it gives people a way to connect from across terraces and fire escapes.

Here’s what else is happening in the United States:

  • The U.S. death toll surpassed that of Spain, with almost 18,400 fatalities related to the virus reported, as the total caseload approached 500,000.

  • Government projections, obtained by The New York Times, found that without any mitigation, the death toll from the virus could have reached 300,000 — and that it could reach 200,000 if the Trump administration lifts 30-day stay-at-home orders.

  • Citing the virus, the administration announced that it would issue visa penalties on countries that refuse to accept people the U.S. aims to deport.

Throughout the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has conveyed comfort and resoluteness to Canadians. This week he also accidentally offered them some comic relief.

During a briefing on Tuesday outside his home in Ottawa, where he was in self-isolation until recently, the prime minister observed that a mask “protects others more than it protects you.” Then he added: “It prevents you from breathing or speaking moistly on them.”

The words had barely left his mouth when Mr. Trudeau, normally a master of optics, realized that “speaking moistly” was a poor choice of words. “What a terrible image,” he immediately observed before reporters and cameras, appearing slightly embarrassed.

The comment became an instant sensation on social media, spawning a spoof song on YouTube that has been viewed more than 1.7 million times, as well as a dance workout routine.

Some Canadians mocked Mr. Trudeau for his verbal lapse. Some reverted to puns. And of course some made wink-wink wisecracks about the man once dubbed “the internet’s boyfriend.”

Certainly, the country needs its moments of levity. The pandemic has been taking a steadily increasing toll on Canadians. As of Friday, there were 21,226 cases in the country, and 531 people had died.

Mr. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the virus on March 12. She was isolated in one part of their house to recover, and he ran the country and cared for their three children in another part.

He has warned Canadians that restrictions will not be lifted in the near future and that it could take a year before the life people knew before the virus returns.

Reporting was contributed by Jason M. Bailey, Dan Bilefsky, Melissa Eddy, Ana Swanson, Adam Nossiter, Stanley Reed, Jack Nicas and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Abdi Latif Dahir and Ian Austen.





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